As announced in the 2012 federal budget, through its Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP), the government has chosen to reduce CBC/Radio-Canada’s appropriation by $115 million over three years. CBC/Radio-Canada today outlined the plan it will implement to account for this decrease.
“When we add up the reduction to our appropriation, unavoidable cost increases, and the investments that CBC/Radio-Canada needs to make to ensure its continued transformation into a modern public broadcaster, we actually face financial pressures amounting to $200 million over the next three years,” says Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO. “We expect to be able to offset that with $50 million in new revenues, which leaves us with about $150 million to account for by way of reductions and operating improvements. Obviously, this will have a significant impact on our services, organization and staff; we expect that upwards of 650 positions will be eliminated over three years, including about 475 this fiscal year.”
The Corporation’s plan to address these financial pressures is comprised of five components, the details of which are available at http://cbc.radio-canada.ca/site/budget/en.
As a starting point, the Corporation will increase its self-generated revenues as a way to minimize the need for reductions. In addition to better leveraging existing television adverting assets, it will aggressively pursue additional digital revenue. CBC/Radio-Canada has also applied to the CRTC to add advertising and sponsorships to its two national music radio networks. “This measure will allow us to ensure that we can continue, through both CBC Radio 2 and Espace musique, to be a point of discovery for Canadian music fans. Both services will remain deeply committed to supporting and showcasing the best in Canadian music across a broad range of genres,” explains Lacroix. The Corporation will also raise resources by leasing existing real estate and divesting of assets that are not core.
Next, the Corporation has examined the effect that the evolution of technology has had on the services it currently provides. As a result, CBC/Radio-Canada intends to accelerate the shutdown of analogue television transmitters. “We had to take a hard look at those services that technology has for the most part rendered obsolete, and that not many Canadians are using,” Lacroix says, adding, “Broadcasters around the world are moving away from analogue. In Canada, only 1.7 per cent of the population still receives our television signals via an analogue, over-the-air transmitter. Given these circumstances, we’ve decided to accelerate our exit from this technology.”
Radio Canada International (RCI) will undergo a transformation that will see the service move away from shortwave and satellite transmission in order to focus its efforts on the web. The service will also end the production of news bulletins and close its Russian and Brazilian departments in order to concentrate on the five languages most spoken by its audiences: French, English, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin. “RCI will continue, on the web, to pursue its mission of disseminating Canadian democratic values abroad,” says Lacroix.
Several further measures then relate to the Corporation’s ability to reduce costs and do things differently. “We continue to eliminate things that do not move us closer to achieving the goals we set out
in our five-year strategy, 2015: Everyone, Every way,” says Lacroix. “We’ll also implement more streamlined work and production methods, reduce costs of production, combine activities where possible, and reduce our overall real estate footprint.”
Finally, while CBC/Radio-Canada’s plan was designed specifically to protect Strategy 2015, the Corporation will also need to scale back its ambitions in a number of areas, including local service extensions, digital TV services, the number and/or budget of signature events it produces, as well as cross-cultural programming projects.
“Clearly, in light of this reduction, we won’t be able to move as far or as fast on certain elements of our 2015 plan as we might have liked,” says Lacroix. “We are, however, still very focused on our goals of becoming more distinctly Canadian, more regional, and more digital, which remain vital to the fulfillment of our role as Canada’s public broadcaster in a rapidly changing environment.”
“Our job is to keep CBC/Radio-Canada whole and to continue to deliver on our mandate, and that’s what these measures will ensure,” concludes Lacroix. “Despite the magnitude of the reductions we’re facing, CBC/Radio-Canada will continue to bring you news and entertainment programming of the highest quality – you have the right to expect that from your public broadcaster.”
More details can be found at http://cbc.radio-canada.ca/site/budget/en, and CBC/Radio-Canada will ensure that over the next three years Canadians are provided with new information and details about specific measures as progress is made in implementing them.
Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO, and Kirstine Stewart, Executive Vice-President of English Services, will be available later today to discuss the details via conference call:
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, Internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, plus seven languages for international audiences